vuh kyaa chiiz hai aah jis ke liye
har ik chiiz se dil u;Thaa kar chale

1a) what is that thing, ah! -- for the sake of which
1b) what a thing a sigh is, for the sake of which

2) having lifted/withdrawn the heart from every single thing, we/you/they moved on?!



chiiz : 'Thing, article, commodity; an item; a thing of value, a valuable, a precious thing'. (Platts p.471)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse, the first point that draws attention is the question in the first line. The speaker himself doesn't know what the thing is for the sake of which he has broken off relationships and has turned his face away and is moving on. Then from the second line the question arises, where is the speaker even going? From both these aspects, interesting possibilities arise. Consider these:

(1) There's some quality in the beloved that attracts hearts, but what that quality is, the lovers themselves (or the speaker) do not know. So it has a 'mood' like that of the 'Mountain of the Voice' [koh-e nidaa] [in the qissah of Hatim Ta'i, etc.]-- that someone calls, and on hearing that voice someone else departs, without knowing the result and without caring about the outcome. With regard to this interpretation, the verse has a mysterious 'mood' like that of this verse of Dard's:

aah ma((luum nahii;N saath se apne shab-o-roz
log jaate hai;N chale par vuh kidhar jaate hai;N

[ah, there's no knowing-- from my company, night and day
people go away, but which way do they go?]

(2) That thing for the sake of which everything has been renounced, is inner peace; because in 'everything' love too is comprised, and in love there's no inner peace.

(3) He is calling to death, and at its voice he is very happily leaving everything and going. But what is death itself, and what will we get from its embrace? There's no knowing.

(4) Having lifted his heart up from everything, where is the speaker going? Several answers to this are possible. For example, that he's leaving the world, or he's taking on the life of a forest-dweller, or he's renouncing pleasure, or he's leaving the beloved's street.

It's also possible that there might be two characters in the verse-- that is, one is the speaker who is the questioner, and the other is the person of whom the question is being asked. Now the situation becomes that someone is tempted to give up his life, or is drawing his last breaths, or is renouncing the world, and the speaker is asking him 'after all, what is this, for the sake of which you have broken off your relationship with everything?'. In the light of this reading, the addressee is tum . This reading too is superb, but it doesn't have an abundance of meaning. it has only 'mood'.

In both kinds of possibilities, the repetition of the word chiiz is truly superb. This word should be read in a different tone in each of the two lines.



And here is even one more possibility: that the 'thing' is a sigh-- since the aah not only enacts a sigh (1a), but is also a word with that meaning (1b). A sigh of melancholy, of world-weariness, of resignation? A sigh of ecstasy at the (mystical) presence of the Beloved? The sigh thus becomes a sign of a particular mood-- one that outweighs all countervailing concerns. The word 'thing' works well with this reading, since a sigh is hardly a thing at all, yet it outweighs every 'real' thing.

This reading would also enjoyably activate the 'kya effect'. 'What a thing a sigh is, for the sake of which...' would exclaim at the power of the sigh. 'As if a sigh is anything at all!-- for the sake of which...' would marvel at the virtual nonexistence of something that was also so utterly powerful. (On the other readings, these exclamatory alternatives would sound rather forced.)

The verse can be spoken by anybody at all; we haven't a clue. And it can refer to any 'we' (including the speaker who idiomatically refers to himself in the plural), a 'you' (plural and/or respected), or a 'they' (plural and/or respected). Take your pick, and you can easily invent a suitable context for such an abstract little verse.

SRF's point about the two occurrences of chiiz is also excellent. The repetition gives the verse almost the quality of a riddle-- How can there be a 'thing' for which someone gave up 'every single thing'? How would the 'thing' in the first line not be included in the 'every single thing' in the second line, and thus given up? It seems to be a paradox. In case we didn't have enough to think about already, Mir has left us this additional little (?) gift. (Similarly, an oyster is better than 'nothing', and 'nothing' is better than heaven-- so it follows that an oyster is better than heaven.)